Leighton-Linslade Town Council has voted unanimously to confer the title of Honorary Freeman of the parish on Walter (Wally) Randall.
Mr Randall will be the first ever resident of the town to be given this title, which will be presented by Town Mayor Councillor David Bowater after the annual Remembrance parade on Sunday, November 10.
Until fairly recently, only a handful of local councils had the standing to confer the title of Honorary Freeman. However, changes in legislation now mean that parish councils are able to bestow this title on a “person of distinction who has rendered eminent services in the council’s area”.
The proposal to make Mr Randall the first ever resident of Leighton-Linslade to receive the title was made by Councillors Mark Freeman, Steve Jones and Russ Goodchild and was agreed by all Councillors present and voting at an extraordinary meeting of the council held on Monday, October 14.
The suggestion to confer the title on Mr Randall was made in recognition of his years of voluntary service to the community, including serving as a member of the former Leighton-Linslade Urban District Council (as chairman during 1968-69), serving as a local magistrate for many years and as a member of the Royal British Legion for over 50 years (including time as Branch President and Committee member).
Mr Randall is still a volunteer poppy seller at 104 years of age and is well known within the local community.
On being told of the honour, Mr Randall said: “I am delighted and honoured to be receiving this title from the Town Council.”
Town Mayor Councillor Bowater said: “It is a tremendous honour to be Mayor this year and to be able to bestow the first ever title of Honorary Freeman of Leighton-Linslade on Mr Wally Randall.
“Wally is so well known and valued by the local community and this is a fitting way of recognising and celebrating his many years of voluntary service in the town”.
Longstanding town councillor and current president of the Leighton Buzzard Branch of the Royal British Legion, Councillor Mark Freeman, said “What a pleasure it has been to nominate Wally for this honour, in recognition of his long and loyal service to this community”.
Councillor Bowater will be presenting Mr Randall with a framed scroll at the end of the Remembrance Sunday parade, which starts from Lake Street at 10.15am.
The presentation will take place in Church Square. The full programme for Leighton-Linslade Remembers can be found on its Facebook page, from the Town Council and from the Royal British Legion.
The Honorary Freeman title differs from the “Freedom of Entry to the town”, which Leighton-Linslade Town Council bestowed upon RAF Stanbridge on April 27, 1987 and upon the 1003 (Leighton Buzzard) Squadron Air Training Corps on 29 January 2001.